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SUSPECT CHARGED IN STRING OF ROBBERIES

A man who prosecutors believe robbed as many as a dozen Salt Lake businesses within the past three weeks was charged Friday with four first-degree felony aggravated robbery counts.

The man, 34, admitted to the robberies and told police he needed the money to purchase cocaine and heroin, charges filed in 3rd Circuit Court say. Enhanced penalties were levied against him for using what victims said represented firearms during the robberies.Documents state the first hold-up occurred April 20, at a Top Stop convenience store, 2603 E. Parleys Way (2050-2550 South), when the man approached a clerk and demanded money, intimating he had a weapon. He fled with less than $100.

Nine days later, the man held up the same convenience store, holding a bag with what he said was a gun barrel sticking out. After demanding cash, he ordered the clerk on the floor and fled, charges state.

Then on May 8, the man approached a clerk at Circle K, 310 S. 900 East, displayed what appeared to be a gun, took cash and cigarettes then fled.

Later that day, charges say the man then entered an Auto Zone, 55 N. 900 West. An employee told police the man displayed a hatchet wrapped up in a rag, which he said was a gun. He told the employee to "give me all the bills in the drawer" and "nobody move 'til I get out of the store."

Charges state the worker handed over cash in the register and was then told to open another till. The man fled with about $860 and was pursued by several witnesses.

He was arrested later at a West Salt Lake motel. He later described to police details in 12 separate robberies he committed in order to buy drugs.

The man is in the Salt Lake County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bond.